Archive for November, 2013

Are mentoring and coaching the same? [FAQs]

Posted on: November 27th, 2013 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Are mentoring and coaching the same? [FAQs]

mentoring vs coachingAre mentoring and coaching the same?

No. People often confuse mentoring and coaching. Though related, they are not the same. A mentor may coach, but a coach is not a mentor. Mentoring is “relational,” while coaching is “functional.” There are other significant differences.

Coaching characteristics:

  • Managers coach all of their staff as a required part of the job
  • Coaching takes place within the confines of a formal manager-employee relationship
  • Focuses on developing individuals within their current jobs
  • Interest is functional, arising out of the need to ensure that individuals can perform the tasks required to the best of their abilities
  • Relationship tends to be initiated and driven by an individual’s manager
  • Relationship is finite – ends as an individual transfers to another job

Mentoring characteristics:

  • Takes place outside of a line manager-employee relationship, at the mutual consent of a mentor and the person being mentored
  • Is career-focused or focuses on professional development that may be outside a mentoree’s area of work
  • Relationship is personal – a mentor provides both professional and personal support
  • Relationship may be initiated by a mentor or created through a match initiated by the organization
  • Relationship crosses job boundaries
  • Relationship may last for a specific period of time (nine months to a year) in a formal program, at which point the pair may continue in an informal mentoring relationship


Are there any other differences you think should be added to our list?

3 Problems and Solutions with Mentoring Matching

Posted on: November 19th, 2013 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

Matching pairs properly in mentoring is a critical component of a successful mentoring program.

The match is typically done by an internal Mentoring Program Manager (MPM) along with a small task force who will meet to review all of the data that is collected via matching questionnaire forms. As you can imagine, problems do arise with mentoring matching.

We are going to discuss 3 typical problems with mentoring matching and solutions to those problems.

Problem #1.

Time spent having to match.

In a typical pilot you will have 15-20 pairs. If you’re going to match those pairs the old fashioned way (i.e. manually), it could take 3+ hours depending on how much time is spent going through the questionnaires and reviewing the data.

Solution #1:

Automate the process by using an online matching system that streamlines the whole matching process.

If an online matching system is not an option, assign one member of the task force to to project the data that has been collected online so that people won’t have to shuffle the paperwork.

Problem #2

Matching people who are not in the same location.

Global businesses may have mentoring programs that include people from all over the world. It’s not unusual to find someone in Europe mentoring someone in Asia. The problem is that if there isn’t a personal connection, it can make it more challenging to form a true mentoring relationship.

Solution(s) #2:

1. Match people as close together geographically as possible. Consider matching someone in Europe with someone in the US as opposed to someone in Asia.

2. Provide pairs with the opportunity to meet to their partner, since that’s such a critical component in long distance mentoring relationships.


  • Bring all the pairs together for training so that they have the opportunity to meet face to face.
  • Use Skype for visual meetings.
  • Use web meetings that allow people to see each other.
  • Dedicate a private room that participants in your mentoring program can schedule for visual meetings with their mentoring partners.

Problem #3

Mismatched pairs

This happens when one or both partners feel the relationship is not working and would like to opt out of the relationship. If the matching process was well designed, mismatches should occur fairly infrequently—10% at most for total number of pairs. Sometimes a mismatch is a personality clash that you couldn’t predict. Other times the mismatch is due to someone not fulfilling their commitment to the program (missing scheduled meeting times, etc.).

Solution #3:

The solution for mismatched pairs is for the MPM to confront the behavior(s) and ascertain if the person can recommit or whether the MPM should dissolve the relationship.

If it is decided to dissolve the relationship, look for other mentor matches and re-match.


If you are interested in learing more about our matching solution, Precision Matching, click the first button below. For Mentoring Program Managers, we have certification options available that you may be interested in. Click the second button. 

Happy matching!

2 Things To Consider When Matching Pairs In A Mentoring Program

Posted on: November 13th, 2013 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

When matching pairs (mentors with mentorees) in a mentoring program, you are trying to match for two things: competencies and compatibility. Successfully matched pairs will make the difference between a successful mentoring program and an unsuccesful one.

Consideration #1: Competencies/Focus Areas: What are the focus areas or competencies that the mentoring pairs will work on?

As with most relationships, a mentoring relationship will typically have an end goal in mind. What is it that the pair should accomplish during their time together? Pair mentoring expertise with mentoree needs for development.

For example, the focus area may be "leadership." But leadership is a very broad term. Break it down further than this. What specific type of leadership? Leading a task force? Managing a work force? You want to be specific so you can enhance the match.


Consideration #2: Compatibility of the match. Will these two people be able to work/communicate together?

It's important to create compatible matches. Without them, the program will be a bust. It is very important to consider personality preferences and traits to ensure compatibility between pairs. This starts with creating questionnaires for potential mentors/mentorees to fill out. These questionnaires are usually created by a Mentoring Program Manager (MPM).

*Note: Management Mentors offers training for MPM's. See Call to Action button below.*

Ask questions on the questionnaire about communication styles, personality characteristics, work/life balance. Questions like: Do you prefer a mentor who is more business-like or more social? Refrain from asking useless questions like what is your favorite food? What is your favorite hobby? You are looking for questions that will add value to the matching process, and those types of questions generally do not.

Finding a Business Mentor – 5 Strategies

Posted on: November 7th, 2013 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments


business mentor

If your company does not have a formal mentoring program, this does not mean you can’t find a suitable business mentor within or outside your company. Finding a business mentor is an important strategic decision; therefore you want to take the time needed to explore the right mentor for you.

Here are 5 strategies for you to consider when finding a business mentor: 

1. Ask yourself the following questions in order to identify the type of person you are looking for in a mentor:

  • What do I want to learn from a mentor (leadership skills, communications skills, business development, etc.)?
  • Where do I want to be in my career in the next 1-3 years or 3-5 years?
  • What kind of personality traits am I looking for in a mentor? Examples: Sociable, professional, knowledgeable, educated, experienced, etc.
  • What other things are important for me in a mentor? For example, is their availability important to me? How often would I like to meet with my mentor (once a month, once a quarter, etc.)? 
  • Am I looking for a mentor that is nearby or would I consider an online mentoring relationship?

2. Once you have answered some of these questions, try to write out a brief summary of what you are looking for in a mentor. For example, “I am looking for a mentor who is in the financial industry and who has 5-10 years experience managing a department–specifically in accounting–and is someone who is sociable, dependable, has good time management skills, and thinks outside the box.  I am hoping that that person will agree to have contact with me on a monthly basis for 60-90 minutes.”

3. Armed with this summary, make a list of everybody you know that fits that particular description. Or start contacting people that you know asking them who they know using your summary as a way to start the conversation.

4. Once you have your list, pick the top 3. Make contact and invite them to lunch. Let them know that you have been referred to them because of their expertise and knowledge and you want to spend a little time with them asking them about how they developed their career. 

5. When you have found the one that you believe is the mentor for you, contact them and ask them if they would consider being your mentor and specify what you are looking for saying something like “I really enjoyed our conversation the other day. I wanted to ask you if you would consider being my mentor because I feel I would benefit greatly from your expertise and knowledge. I wonder if you would consider having lunch once a month initially.”

Having done the homework hopefully your efforts will pay off and the response will be a positive one. You have now defined the type of person you hope to find in a mentor. Once you have found one, you and your mentor will want to conduct the same type of exercise to determine what you would like to accomplish in your mentoring sessions. 

What Makes A Good Mentor?

Posted on: November 4th, 2013 by News presented by How to Mentor No Comments

What Makes A Good Mentor?

This is a question I get asked frequently and there isn't one set answer.  It's difficult to predict which personality will mesh with another but with some thought put into a matching process, one can get great results.  I do think there are qualities that are critical for someone to be a good mentor:

  • A good listener.  By that I mean someone who not only can listen without distraction to what a mentoree is saying but is also somewhat intuitive with that person-able to sense subtle messages of body language, tone of voice, etc.
  • Mentor is self - less.  A good mentor fully understands that the relationship is not about sharing who s/he is but rather, to facilitate the development of the mentoree.  For this reason, a good mentor does less talking and more listening in the relationship on the whole.  Also, the mentor doesn't take things personally and focuses on the needs of the mentoree as their priority.
  • Loses control.  Often mentors are in positions where they make decisions on a regular basis and take control of situations.  In mentoring, mentors need to let go of control.  The person in charge of the relationship is really the mentoree.  The mentor's role is to partner with that mentoree but not to manage.
  • Envisions.  There is nothing so powerful as having someone believe in you.  Mentors, by virtue of the personal relationship they create with the mentoree, are in a unique position to assist the mentoree to envision their future with all of their talents.  We often fail to see how talented we are and having someone point that out on a periodic basis, opens up possibilities for the mentoree that can lead to a more fulfilling career and life.

The above are just some of the qualities that make someone a good mentor! Do you have any to add to the list?